Paquita

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This article is about the 19th century ballet. For the Mexican singer, see Paquita la del Barrio.
Ballets and revivals of Marius Petipa
Marius Petipa -1898.JPG

*Paquita (1847, *1881)
*Le Corsaire (1858, 1863, 1868, 1885, 1899)
The Pharaoh's Daughter (1862, *1885, *1898)
Le Roi Candaule (1868, *1891, *1903)
Don Quixote (1869, *1871)
La Bayadère (1877, *1900)
*Giselle (1884, 1899, 1903)
*Coppélia (1884)
*La fille mal gardée (1885)
*La Esmeralda (1886, 1899)
The Talisman (1889)
The Sleeping Beauty (1890)
The Nutcracker (1892)
Cinderella (1893)
Le Réveil de Flore (1894)
*Swan Lake (1895)
*The Little Humpbacked Horse (1895)
Raymonda (1898)
The Seasons (1900)
Harlequinade (1900)

* revival

Paquita is a ballet in two acts and three scenes, composed by Ludwig Minkus, with libretto by Joseph Mazilier and Paul Foucher. Originally choreographed by Joseph Mazilier to the music of Edouard Deldevez. First presented by at the Salle Le Peletier by the Paris Opera Ballet on 1 April 1846. The work was retained in the repertory of the Opéra until 1851.

In 1847, Paquita was staged for the first time in Russia for the Imperial Ballet of St. Petersburg by Marius Petipa and Pierre-Frédéric Malavergne, being the first work ever staged by Petipa in Russia. In 1881 Petipa produced a revival of the ballet for which he added new pieces specially composed by Ludwig Minkus. This included the Pas de trois (a.k.a. the Minkus Pas de trois or Paquita Pas de trois) for the first act, and the Paquita Grand pas classique and the Mazurka des enfants (Children's mazurka) for the last act. Petipa's version of Paquita was retained in the repertory of the Mariinsky Theatre until 1926.

Marius Petipa's 1881 additions for Paquita survived long after the full-length ballet left the stage. Today these pieces, particularly the Grand pas classique, are major cornerstones of the traditional classical ballet repertory and have been staged by ballet companies throughout the world.

Marius Petipa's choreography for the Imperial Ballet's production of Paquita was notated in the Stepanov method of choreographic notation in about 1902. The notations were made while Petipa himself taught and rehearsed the great Anna Pavlova for her début in the title rôle. Today, this notation is part of the Sergeyev Collection, a cache of notations and other materials that document many of the works in the Imperial Ballet's repertory during the twilight of the Russian Empire.

In 2001, the choreographer Pierre Lacotte produced a revival of the full-length, two act Paquita for the Paris Opera Ballet. Although Lacotte re-choreographed all of the ballet himself, he restored Joseph Mazilier's original mime sequences and mise-en-scène, as well as Marius Petipa's 1881 additions.

For their 2014-2015 season, the Stepanov notation expert Doug Fullington and choreographer Alexei Ratmansky are mounting a reconstruction of the Imperial Ballet's turn-of-the 20th century production of Paquita for the Bayerisches Staatsballett.

Performance history[edit]

Other notable productions

  • Marius Petipa and Pierre-Frédéric Malavergne for the Imperial Ballet. Musical orchestrations by Konstantin Liadov. First presented at the Imperial Bolshoi Theatre on 8 October [O.S. 26 September] 1847.
  • Marius Petipa for the Imperial Ballet, staged for the benefit performance of Ekaterina Vazem. Musical additions and revisions by Ludwig Minkus. First presented at the Imperial Bolshoi Theatre on 8 January [O.S. 27 December 1881] 1882.

Original Interpreters

Role Paris, 1846 St. Petersburg, 1847 St. Petersburg, 1881
Paquita Carlotta Grisi Yelena Andreyanova Ekaterina Vazem
Lucien d'Hervilly Lucien Petipa Marius Petipa Pavel Gerdt

Plot Outline[edit]

The plot takes place in Spain during the occupation of Napoleon's army. The heroine is the young Gypsy girl, Paquita. Unbeknownst to Paquita, she is really of noble birth, having been abducted by Gypsies when she was an infant. She saves the life of a young French officer, Lucien d'Hervilly, who is the target of a Spanish governor who desires to have him killed by Iñigo, a gypsy chief. By way of a medallion she discovers that she is of noble birth, being in fact the cousin of Lucien. As such, she and the Officer are able to wed.

History of the Paquita grand pas classique[edit]

The Paquita grand pas classique was featured in the farewell gala of Enrico Cecchetti in 1902, where all of the leading ballerinas of the Mariinsky Theatre participated by performing their favorite solos from various ballets. Thus, the tradition of including an entire suite of solos for various ballerinas began, a tradition which is still in place today.

Anna Pavlova included the Grand Pas classique in her company's repertory.

Rudolf Nureyev staged the piece in 1964 for the Royal Academy of Dancing, and at La Scala in 1970. Nureyev also staged it for the Vienna State Opera Ballet and American Ballet Theatre in 1971. For all of his productions of the work Nureyev used John Lanchbery's adaptation of the music. In 1984 Natalia Makarova staged a new version of the Paquita grand pas classique for American Ballet Theatre with music again arranged by Lanchbery. To date the company still retains Makarova's staging in their repertory, and many companies throughout the world have staged her version of the piece.

In 1974 the Ballet Master Nikita Dolgushin produced a staging of the Paquita grand pas classique for the Maly Theatre Ballet of St. Petersburg. For his production Dolgushin called upon the former ballerina Elizaveta Gerdt—who performed in Marius Petipa's original version of the piece— to assist in restoring the Paquita grand pas classique to its form as performed during the early 20th century.

In 1978 the Kirov/Mariinsky Ballet's newly appointed artistic director Oleg Vinogradov staged a new version of the Paquita grand pas classique for the company, a staging largely based on the version Pyotr Gusev staged for the Maly Theatre Ballet in 1952. The Kirov/Mariinsky Ballet still retain Vinogradov's version in their repertory, and many companies throughout the world include his version of the piece in their repertories.

Gallery of historical images[edit]